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Most towns and cities require a peddler’s license for businesses that want to sell products from a cart at a festival or street location. Peddlers are face-to-face sales businesses that do not have a brick and mortar building. Whether the business is part of a limited event or occupies a regular spot on a street corner, the license gives vendors the rights described within the town’s regulations.
Check with your municipal government licensing office or police department to find out which peddler’s license is applicable to your business needs. Websites such as BusinessLicenses.com offer advisory services to help business owners be in compliance with all state regulations. For a fee they guide users to the peddler license needed. Peddler’s licenses are required to enter into commerce on both public and private property in most locations.
Peddlers are vendors who do business in one location or move from door to door to sell their wares. Many municipalities require separate peddler’s license for food and non-food sales. Vendors should post their peddler's license in plain view for easy access by city officials. Peddlers often are required to wear a badge with their permit number displayed. Assistants also must be registered and provided with badges.
Fees vary widely for the license, from $5 for a one-day license in small towns to $3,000 for an annual license in larger cities. Fines for doing business without a license also vary widely, ranging from $50 per day to $1,000 per violation. Violators in many localities also can be subjected to jail sentences.
Typically vendors are required to be over the age of 16 to apply for a peddler’s license. The vendor must provide identification and tax ID information. Fill out every line in a peddler’s license application to avoid delays in processing. Some municipalities run background checks on proposed vendors, while others require in-depth details regarding the goods to be sold. Many applications require a business license in addition to the peddler’s permit and the vendor must have a registered business name.
Various rules govern the sale of goods by mobile vendors. Rules might include restrictions on noise or loudspeakers that announce the business to the public, cleanliness guidelines and regulated hours of operation. Vendors are typically restricted to specific areas in which they can set up their cart or booth. Moving from those designated selling corridors to off-limits locations can result in a loss of the license, fines and incarceration.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."